Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen makes colossal financial mistake

April 23, 2010
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

For all you kids out there considering leaving college early to pursue your dreams, there are lots of reasons to stay until you get your sheepskin.

Let’s roll out Exhibit A today: Jimmy Clausen.

Despite spending most of Thursday night with ESPN’s Erin Andrews, Clausen’s face got longer and longer as the night dragged on. Clausen could live with Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford going No. 1 overall. But the Denver Bronco’s selection of Tim Tebow at No. 25 was a real kick in the gut.

You could feel the air go out of Clausen’s living room (which was being shot live by ESPN) as the first round ended. Clausen saw his financial fortunes deflated as well.

His decision to leave ND early will cost him an easy $10 million (and probably a lot more) over the next four years, assuming he goes in the top 10 picks of the second round. You don't need a Notre Dame finance degree to figure how painful that is to swallow.

Bradford is expected to sign a deal worth between $40 million to $45 million. Clausen will be lucky to get a deal one-fourth that size. You can't find a draft expert that doesn't now think Clausen would have made bushels more money had he swallowed his pride and played for a new coach for one year at ND.

Clausen wouldn't have to be the No. 1 pick next year to turn out financially better off. A top 15 pick next year would assure that. And you have to believe that another year under the Golden Dome (and one with a college coach that actually knows how to coach college football) would have assured that would happen.

Clausen's statistics were solid, but in the end he really didn't accomplish anything. Notre Dame certainly didn't compete for any national titles. Not even close. ND wouldn't have even competed for the Big Ten title had the school been in that conference. Heaven knows the Irish couldn't hang with USC with Clausen under center.

Under Kelly, it could have been different, but we'll never know. Clearly scouts were bothered by what they saw.

So bothered in fact, Tebow, a dubious pro prospect at best, got bumped above Clausen. I guess winning, regardless of the level of play, does in fact matter. Now, the biggest remaining question is if Texas' Colt McCoy, who also is still available, will go before Clausen.

By the way, there's no truth to the rumor that either Clausen or McCoy have agreed to a guest appearance on The Biggest Loser.

Many were stunned by Clausen's rapid fall from grace. None other than ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., who has more draft knowledge under his well-oiled hairdo than just about anyone, had Clausen as the No. 4 overall pick going into last night's NFL draft.

Kiper looked almost as forlorn as Clausen. They could probably both use a hug from Andrews.

You could almost read Kiper's mind, saying, "After all these years, how could all these NFL scouts and generl managers doubt me." I couldn't help but think of former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Tobin, who once uttered, "Who the h--- is Mel Kiper Jr.?"

Kiper wasn't alone. Nine of 10 NFL draft analysts had Clausen going no later than No. 9 to Buffalo. Note to youngsters hoping for NFL futures: Look to actual NFL front office types for your info, not draft experts. I know they're not as sexy as Mel and Todd McShay, but they might actually hold the keys to useful career-decision-making information.

Clearly most NFL GMs think Clausen is more in the mold of Brady Quinn than Joe Montana. And honestly,  I'm not sure even a year of college could change that.

Where Clausen ends up at this point is anybodys guess. But my bet is if Claussen could have one big do-over, he'd head back to his South Bend dorm room, throw his arms around Kelly, and hope another year throwing passes under Touchdown Jesus would work miracles for his financial fortunes.

  • Are you under that much pressure to fill the blog everyday?
    You do not know...NO ONE much his decision cost him.

    What if he breaks his leg next year?

    What if he has a terrible year?

    What if there's a lockout?

    What if he has a bad off-field incident?

    Don't get me wrong...I like the IBJ. If I had to choose between it and the Star, I'd pick the IBJ in a heartbeat. But some of your blog posts are if you're just trying to drum up traffic.
  • drum up traffic, good idea
    Drum up traffic, now what a great idea! Since that is at the center of our IBJ's business plan to "drum up traffic" and advertisers and to make a little money while we're at it, I'll take that at as a compliment. I certainly don't know everything, but I know that if Clausen were to go in the top 15 picks in the 2011 draft he would make lots more money. History and the NFL draft salary slotting system tells me that. As always, thanks for reading.
  • Do not agree
    I do not agree that Clausen made a financial mistake. I really don't think he would have been selected higher after 1 more year at ND. For some reason, he has been branded as player with an attitude problem, which may be confused with cockiness/confidence. Who knows. He most likely wouldn't have been able to shake that label after another year at ND. Most of these coaches interviewed him so they obviously saw something they did not like with his personality. I haven't heard a word knocking his ability. Keep in mind there are only a handful of teams that are in the market to pick a QB in round 1.
  • completely agree
    Spot on Anthony, spot on.

    Clausen isn't that good. Why ND fans feel they must defend him is beyond me. His coach didn't know what he was doing, and the results (both record-wise, and player development-wise) were evidence of the same.

    In some ways, I feel bad for Clausen as delusional as he must be - though - hopefully this is a humbling experience for him, and improves as a player under an actual coach worth his mettle.
  • Impact
    The NFL teams want and need impact players. Although I feel bad for Jimmy, he never won at ND. Another year would have been a great chance to prove something. Injuries happen, but it didn't hurt Sam. For Jimmy to cash in now he will have to wait for his 2nd contract and thatâ??s if he ever gets a chance to prove himself.
  • Anotehr year doesn't fix attitude issues
    From what I have read, scouts see Jimmy Clausen as a talented player with a bad attitude. So even another year wouldn't have helped. Maybe he would mature enough to see that he wasn't the center of the universe but there is no guarentee.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that next year (or the next time that players are signed and playing) there will most likely be a new wage scale for rookies. So a top 15 pick wouldn't get the ridiculous amounts of money they do today.
  • Claussen made the wrong move, but it was the safe move
    Did Jimmy Clausen really make a financial mistake by coming out this year? Probably, but I believe he played it safe. He will be drafted and sign a multi-million dollar deal before Notre Dame opens their season. With the possibility of an injury or not adapting to Kelly's system, it is possible his stock would go down. Let's not forget, Brian Kelly does not have anybody coming in to replace Golden Tate next season. Also, if there is an NFL lockout, does the NFL even have a draft next year? If not, that could be a year of rust before he begins playing competitive football again. Entering into the draft was definitely the safe choice. Matt Leinart gambled by not coming out early and look what happened.
  • Wage Scale
    It was said earlier by Jason --> it's all about next year's wage scale.
    When the collective bargaining agreement limits rookie pay, will you then recant this article?
  • NFL, not NBA
    I think you are confusing the NFL with the NBA. While the collective bargaining agreement will be reworked in the next year in both leagues, the NBA is failing financially, meanwhile the NFL is profiting strongly in one of the worst economies in decades. Yes, NFL vets are angry rookies are making so much right out of the box. But the players' union and players' agents no well that overall that is good for many, many of their memebers. The NFLPA, one of the strongest unions in all of sports, will fight very, very hard to limit decreases to rookie pay. And I think that will have a big impact on this situation. The NBAPA on the other hand knows the league is bleeding money and understands the union doesn't have much of a leg to stand on.
  • Don't agree
    Clausen seems to have other problems besides timing. If he indeed has character issues he would carry that stench into next year's draft as well. If he's good he'll make his money.
    I doubt if Tom Brady's accountant cares where he got drafted.
  • disagree
    I think it's a bit exaggerated to call a move that nets you $10mm a colossal mistake. He'll be set for life once he signs, and if he's as good as he believes, he can sign a bigger deal later in his career. Could he have gotten more next year? Probably, but not definitely, and the marginal value to anyone of second $10mm they make is nowhere near the value of the first $10mm. If he played another year, he could be hurt, or he could prove his detractors right, and go even lower next year. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • Second Coming of Jeff George
    Clearly came off to the NFL folks as a legend in his own mind...
  • yes, a big mistake
    NFL players get hurt, too. Blowing out a knee with a $2,000,000 contract vs a $12,000,000 contract could be deemed the result of a colossal mistake. College players can sometimes get a fifth year of eligibility while "earning" a degree (nudge nudge wink wink). No matter, though, as most NFL and NBA athletes within 5 years of retirement declare bankruptcy.
  • Take note Gordon....
    Please Gordon....take note....PLEASE.....
  • Total Junk
    I don't know how long it took you to think this out before you wrote it. However, looking back on it I hope you realized how wrong you are. Jimmy Clausen and his family are rich to begin with. I live in the same county, played high school football against him and all of the other All-American athletes at Oaks Christian High School, and I know the area very well. He did not leave because of money, or because he was not winning games at Notre Dame. He left so he can do what he does best. Prove people like you wrong. He had nothing left to do in college football, other than break a few records which really didn't matter. I remember when he came out of high school there were many people who said he was going to be the bust of the year. He was the golden boy in high school, but somehow it wouldn't translate to the college game. You might have even been one of them. He shut them up pretty quick. He will likely do the same thing in the NFL. Being perfect runs in the guy's blood. I have hated him for it since he was 14, when he started beating my team 80-0 his freshman year of high school.
    • Clausen a Bust
      Well here we are years later and the reality of Clausen has set in. I'm sure the Panthers are very sorry they invested their $$ on an overrated player like Jimmy. Marcus Tyler as the recipient of Jimmy's shovel passes for 3 years padded his passing stats into the record books, and I'm sure the unknowing bought into the legend. As did ND. Jimmy is slow as hell and blames everyone else for mishaps. ND was lucky to have him bail the team after three years. He just dragged them down, as he was the Panthers. Maybe he can help his brothers coach some HS some day?

    Post a comment to this blog

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

    2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

    3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

    4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

    5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?